Aksakal as an Institution in Kyrgyz Society


Throughout history, the informal aksakal institution has always existed in Central Asian Turkic societies. In the Kyrgyz society, the aksakal institution maintains its strong existence due to its social prestige and recognition, as well as the functions it performs. Age is not the only determining factor in being an aksakal, aksakals are chosen by people based on life experience. Aksakal is a smart, reasonable, impartial, fair and honest person who is knowledgeable of values and traditions. Aksakal not only acts as a mediator in solving social problems, but also takes an active position in management. As a matter of fact, there are many examples of this in the historical process. In this context, aksakals have always played an active role in solving problems between individuals and communities in times of war and peace. Aksakals to a certain extent continued their existence and functions, not only during the periods when the state authority was weak, but also in Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union period, despite strong pressure and restrictions. With the independence of Kyrgyzstan, the aksakal Institution began to gain strength again. Today, aksakals continue to play an important role in shaping the Kyrgyz identity and building the post-independence nation, in addition to their traditional roles in Kyrgyz society.


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